This week we heard from my good friend Norman Brown on our ‘Feel Better Together’ Zoom call. Norman knows more than anyone about the impact our lifestyles can have on our wellbeing. Despite now being a wellbeing advisor at the age of 70, his lifestyle 20 years ago couldn’t have been more different. Work pressure, late nights and an unhealthy diet was taking its toll and he presented to the hospital with anxiety and panic attacks and was told to dramatically change his lifestyle. This can be overwhelming, and many people wouldn’t know where to start, but Norman inspired by an 82-year-old lady crossing the finish line of the London Marathon, started by putting on his trainers to run around his local park. It certainly wasn’t as easy as he had thought and it took many weeks to build up to his first lap, but with determination and time eventually Norman found himself running to work and reaping the benefits. He describes how the stresses of the day just melted away as he ran home from work.
He then described how gradually this had a ripple effect, and all his unhealthy choices starting slipping away organically without him thinking about it… he stopped smoking and drinking, his diet improved, and he was engaging with a wider group of like-minded friends, and it all started from putting on a pair of trainers that day.
The next step out of his comfort zone was to take the huge decision to make a total career change in his 50’s and become a fitness instructor, which again was no easy transition and he hit many obstacles applying for jobs initially as an older instructor. However, showing his remarkable resilience again he eventually found a job he loved, and then went on to develop a wonderful career with Nuffield Health.
His passion for health and wellbeing shines out of him and he gains incredible satisfaction from working with clients.
But he doesn’t only ‘talk the talk.’ He very much walks the walk and has achieved and continues to achieve great things with his fitness. He has completed numerous events from marathons, cycle events, and he now competes regularly in outdoor swimming.
He sees his role as very much about improving health rather than just making people fit. He always recommends that people address their diets and stress levels and ensures they are getting adequate sleep.. He very much creates individual personal programmes for his clients, and always meets people where they are at. For some on his joint health programme, this might simply be training them to be able to move from the floor to standing, and he has seen the incredible benefits of gentle movements from Tai Chi and Yoga.
What is so wonderful is that he can relate to and empathise with his client’s situations and can really help to break down any barriers they might have in relation to exercise. He describes himself as a facilitator of change. ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink it.’ he says. What he can do is offer his inspiration and share his knowledge to anyone looking to make a change and help them to create the habits that will result in a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
Norman certainly is a shining example that life is more enjoyable when we feel physically and mentally well and has clearly demonstrated that we have all have the ability to make these changes. He has also shown that it takes time to make lasting changes. There are no quick fixes when it comes to creating health. We can also continually adapt our habits and keep on learning.
It is up to us to put in the hard work but as Norman has shown a little bit of inspiration goes a long way (whether that is an 82 year old crossing the finishing line at the London Marathon) or a 70 year old wellbeing advisor, we can all be inspired to make change.
If you would like to find out more about Norman please do click on the link and please do share with your friends. He is currently offering personal training via zoom and hoping to get back to face to face consultations as soon as possible!
I can’t tell you how much I have learnt from all the wonderful people sharing their stories each week, and I am extremely grateful. I think hearing peoples inspiring stories is such an incredible way to learn.
This week I am very grateful that Neil Hughes has kindly offered to share his story with us. Neil is a comedian, writer and speaker. He speaks about anxiety & mental health in schools, universities, conferences, staff training days, and at events of all kinds. I feel extremely privileged to welcome him to our weekly call. Please do click on the link above to find out more about him.
I am thrilled he will be joining us this week as it is mental health awareness week. I am passionate about mental health myself and volunteer for a brilliant local group called Mental Health Together. Why not join us in a wonderful virtual mindfulness challenge to promote Mental Health Awareness. Please click on the link above for all the details.
The Feel Better Together call is every Wednesday 12.30-1.30 pm. Please click on the link for the details of how to join us. I hope to see you there.
Take good care,